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Saw Palmetto

Also known as Serenoa Repens, Sebal and Serrula.

Saw palmetto extract is a food supplement that can be found in pharmacies and health stores. It has been know for some years now, to be useful in treating prostate related conditions, that are caused by Dehydro-Testosterone. For this reason it is claimed to be useful in treating Hair Loss and Male Pattern Baldness as well, although there is no scientific evidence to back it up at this point. This might be due to the limited extent of research done on this plant, for which there are two reasons: The first is the limited extent of its use up until recent years. This is changing though, as awareness to it is on the rise, especially in Europe, but also in the U.S where it grows. The second reason is that it can not be registered as a patent. It is sold by many companies, and so there is no financial potential that would lead investors to conduct research on it.

Saw Plametto binds to 5AR
Picture 1: Saw Plametto binds to 5AR

The few researches that have been conducted to this day have all concentrated on its benefits in treating BPH (enlargement of the prostate gland). The largest one, which was conducted by a German company showed success rates similar to the ones of Finasteride. From the data collected from research it seems that saw palmetto is useful against Dehydro-Testosterone related conditions for two reasons:

1. It binds to type II 5-Alpha-reductas enzymes and prevents them from reacting with testosterone in a similar way the Finasteride in Propecia and Proscar does (picture 1). There is also a possibility that it binds to type I enzymes as well.

2. It binds to the hormonal receptor sites in the prostate and this way neutralizes the effect of the remaining DHT. This is why we can assume it has the same effect on the hormonal receptor sites in hair follicles (picture 2). There still is no scientific evidence to that, and again, that can be attributed to limited extent of research.

Saw Palmetto block DHT access to the hormonal receptors
Picture 2: Saw Palmetto block DHT access to the hormonal receptors

The mechanism Saw Palmetto works in is not understood at this point, but the lipids and sterols it contains are believed to be the active ingredients. It's important to make sure that the product you buy contains a good amount of active ingredients, a datum that doesn't necessarily appear on the label. It is also recommended to use an extract that was made from the plant itself and not from its berries, as it contains more active ingredients. The recommended consumption of active ingredients is 320 mg/day. Lab tests done by two leading consumer organizations in the US, Consumer Labs and Consumer Reports , revealed that a high price tag is not a guarantee for a product's quality. Expensive products were shown to contains little amounts of active ingredients in comparison to cheaper ones.

Our last recommendation is to buy Standardized products, as this label indicates the product was tested and found to have the full amount of active ingredients (even if that amount is not specified on the label). Fingerprinted products were only tested for the presence of the active ingredients but not for the amount.

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